On November 10, 2011, the partners of the Water Think Tank Méditerranée - the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, UNITAR, Plan Bleu, the International Office for Water and Veolia Environnement - organized a Symposium in Monaco on Territorial Governance of Water in the Mediterranean Region. The discussions structured around four central themes allowed to present and discuss the partners’ findings with all the present stakeholders - a hundred participants gathered around experts panels, decision-makers and water practitioners from both shores of the Mediterranean so as to prompt the sharing of experiences and identify the most appropriate strategies for future research conducted by the Water Think Tank.
The Water Think Tank Méditerranée initiative was launched by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation during the 5th World Water Forum in Istanbul in March 2009, in partnership with UNITAR, the Plan Bleu, the International Office for Water and Veolia Environnement. This initiative follows on from a round table organised by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, UNITAR and Veolia Environnement during the Zaragoza Water Expo management in 2008, on the theme of integrated water resource management and the role of local authorities.
The main aim of the Water Think Tank Méditerranée is to identify and promote governance mechanisms that will contribute towards efficient coordination between the various levels of management, especially that of the catchment areas and local authorities, in the countries of the Mediterranean. This involves examining the conditions required to ensure the sustainability of drinking water and sanitation services in Mediterranean cities, based on concrete case studies, in particular from the point of view of territorial governance and the coexistence between the various uses to ensure equitable water access. The project is based on a Research/Action process for the local players involved in territorial water governance. The research carried out by the Water Think Tank Méditerranée has led to the categorization of the various types of conflict of use and an analysis of the solutions observed as far as water sharing is concerned.
In this context, at the end of the first research phase conducted by the Water Think Tank, the Symposium discussions allowed for a dialogue promoting the sustainable and integrated management of water resources in the Mediterranean. Discussions focused more specifically on four central themes: the conflicts of use in the Mediterranean, the mechanisms of water governance in the territories, the role of technology in reducing conflicts of use, and the socio-economic and financial stakes of the regulation of water usage conflicts. The debates, introduced by Walter Mazzitti, President of the Euro-Mediterranean Information System on know-how in the Water sector (EMWIS) and Jacques Oudin, Honorary Senator of Vendee, Chairman of the exchange group for the development of international cooperation in the field of water and sanitation, and founder and honorary president of the French Circle of Water, will serve as a basis for the continuation of the work of Water Think Tank, which will lead to the formulation of online training on integrated management of water resources for local authorities.
During his closing address, His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco emphasized the key role of water in the stability of the Mediterranean region, and recalled the absolute necessity for the different stakeholders of working together to set up better governance of water across the world, especially in the Mediterranean, involving local actors as closely as possible. His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco concluded “although water is often a problem, it is always the solution”.